Wind River Cowboy

Lindsay McKenna
Wind River Cowboy
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Release Date
March 2017
Book 3 of Wind River Series
Western Romance

An unexpected reunion . . .

Kira Duval was part of a Special Forces team that got caught in an ambush—leaving only two wounded survivors: herself and Weapons Sergeant Garret Fleming. Losing her team was traumatic, and in the chaotic aftermath, as the Army moved them from hospital to hospital, she lost Garret too. But she never lost her secret yearning for him.

Finally, she gave up trying to track him down back in the States. But as she settles in at the Bar C cattle ranch in Wyoming, a place where veterans can find a home and a place to heal, she's introduced to her sandy-haired, hazel-eyed housemate: none other than Garret Fleming.

They're a long way from Afghanistan—and a long way from the people they used to be before tragedy changed their lives. But as Kira earns her keep by caregiving for the ranch owner's bedridden, alcoholic father—a task that sometimes feels more challenging than any black ops mission—she finds that even in peacetime Garret still has her back, and that in this warm, welcoming place, the passion she resisted in the heat of battle may finally have a chance to flourish . .

Book Review by Administrator (author,reviewer)
Apr 22, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
82 people found the following review helpful
Originally posted by rjsummers at Reading Alley:

This is third in the Wind River Ranch series by Lindsey McKenna, each one telling the story of different characters who come to the Bar C Ranch in Wyoming and soon call it home. Each is a stand-alone book, however, there are numerous references to people from previous books.

There was much I enjoyed about this story, but before that, my two pet peeves. First, was the head-hopping of the two main characters–Kira and Garret–between paragraphs. Once upon a time I never used to notice that, until enough editors preached to me about it, so now it glares at me whenever I encounter POV in both characters' heads in the same few lines of each other.

Second was the redundancy in the beginning between Kira and Garret's secret feelings for each other. Clearly, while working in Afghanistan, and part of a team unit, they could not have shared nor demonstrated their true emotions or interest in each other beyond "just friends". It is a common sense thing to me, however, it felt like the author was belaboring the point repetitively for more chapters than necessary.

Now, all the main characters that reside at the Bar C Ranch suffer some degree of PTSD as a result of their experiences in the military. The severity and complexity and everyday challenges were all well handled. I like how the author researched the various ways it can manifest and emphatically wrote the character's experiences. I felt I could experience it right alongside them.

Around the middle of the book, the characters really started to shine. Garret's protectiveness of Kira felt real and remarkable. I do wish they'd spent less page time internally dwelling on their true feelings now, instead of excusing to themselves why they still could not be honest with the other. They are ex-military now, no more reasons to hold back. I felt they should just take the chance, and be open and honest with each other much sooner. However, that can be a manifestation of the PTSD, so I chalk it up to that.

The situation between Kira and the ranch owner's ailing father was also wonderfully done. It showcased PTSD in its most honest form, and I caught myself gritting my teeth and wincing right alongside Kira sometimes.

What I did love was the way Garret, and another soldier buddy, Reese, tenderly protected and looked after their lady loves. These are big, strong, warriors, yet Ms. McKenna wrote splendidly of their wonderful job in portraying their softer, gentler, nurturing personalities. It was lovely to read.

Other than a few minor typos and one case of a wrong name used, and the aforementioned issues, I thought this latest edition of the Wind River Valley saga was a very good read.

I will add this: the cover is a bit misleading, as is the title. Garret is not a cowboy, he does not handle horses in the story with the exception of two lines toward the ending. He spends his time working on ranch machinery, running an odd errand here and there, and spending most of his time with either Kira or the Ranch people, never the horses. He is never astride a horse. Also, the reason for the dog is a mystery as there is no dog mentioned anywhere in the story. Just a head's up not to be looking for dusty cowhands who spend their time talking to their horse or the loyal dog. Perhaps in other Wind River stories, but not this one.
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Book Review by Administrator (author,reviewer)
Apr 26, 2017   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
68 people found the following review helpful
Originally posted by cherylss at Reading Alley:

This awesome book #3 in the Wind River Valley series features Kira Duval and Garrett Fleming. They spent three years on the same team in Afghanistan and the last they saw each other was during an ambush fire fight. Imagine their surprise when they meet, nearly a year later, at a ranch in Montana aimed at helping veterans struggling to put their lives back together again.

This is a fantastic story that sheds light on the struggles our veterans go through. Also knowing that there are REAL places like the Bar C Ranch is amazing. It's a beautiful thing!

This is a great romance with a touching story. It all felt so real. I can't wait to read the next one.
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Lindsay is here to talk about her latest book, Wind River Cowboy, book 3 in her Wind River series.

Q: What's your inspiration for this story?

Being a military Navy vet, my heart and focus are on our women and men in and out of the military. That was my inspiration for this story.

Q: How are the stories in the Wind River Valley series connected?

In any series, it is a hub of central characters and then like spokes in a wheel, each one is a story of a hero/heroine who is associated either because they work at a specific ranch, or work in the town of Wind River or live in Wind River Valley, Wyoming. Readers will see old characters appearing now and then, plus introduction of other characters from the same locale—cowboys and ranchers.

Q: What do you enjoy most about writing this book?

Sharing what I know about PTSD and how it infiltrates your life (sort of looking through the glass darkly kind of reality), and how it hurts those loved ones and friends. I like to write stories that are real and the issues of PTSD are part of the pain, but also, part of the answer as a person gets better when around others who have similar issues. They are stories of hope. And I hope my information about PTSD helps readers understand the constant 24/7/365 these vets go through when living with the symptoms of it. Education breed's knowledge and this is what we need to understand something that we may not have ourselves. But it does build a bridge of awareness that wasn't there before. And when you do that? You have created compassion and understanding.

Q: Tell us more about Kira Duval. What makes her a heroine we would root for?

Kira is a combat trained Army soldier who is part of a top-secret project out of the Pentagon to prove that women can handle it. She not only has to deal with males in the Army who don't trust her, but also because she's a woman, take the sexual innuendos and verbal abuse that is heaped on her, too. Any woman who can stand the war she has to fight with the enemy, and fight it within her own unit while being trained as a combatant, is heroic, patriotic, strong and resilient. All qualities that I can certainly root for. And I hope my readers will too. Being a woman in the military is not for sissies.

Q: What about the hero, Garret Fleming? What makes him a swoonworthy hero?

Garret comes out of an alcoholic household, his father drunk and abusive. He goes into the Army, and then Special Forces, because he wants to do something good and positive for the world. He never wants to be anything like his old man in any way, shape or form. He's a man of strong morals, values and integrity. His word is his bond. And he has his Special Forces team members back, as well. He's someone you can count on no matter how dark and dangerous it gets. He won't abandon you in your hour of need.

Q: What makes them perfect for each other?

Because Kira worked in Garret Fleming's A team in Afghanistan, they share more than a desire for one another—a desire they didn't dare act upon for fear of splitting the team apart. They were loyal soldiers to their team. And because of their shared background, and the tragedy that happened, they can become a sounding board and support for one another. And maybe, be able to finally act upon their imprisoned desire for one another.

Q: How do you come up with emotional scenes that tug at the reader's heartstrings?

That all goes back to creating believable, sympathetic characters. My background allows me to go deep into the psyche of my characters and not just the hero/heroine. Even my secondary characters have genuine personalities, too.

Q: Were any characters inspired by anyone in real life?

I was in the US Navy and I write what I know. I have many friends who have PTSD. I've seen them suffer, I've seen families tear apart when that woman or man comes home from deployment. Because of the sacrifices these people make on behalf of our Democracy, to give each of you the freedom you enjoy daily (when many countries do not), these are people worth writing about.

Q: What is a typical writing day like?

I get up at 5a.m. seven days a week. I go through answering emails, posting to my author Facebook page and any media that needs to be posted on Twitter, as well. Then, by 7:00 a.m., I'm in the writer's harness, writing, editing or final reading a manuscript of mine for my publisher. I work at it all day long. I have other publishing duties to perform and they are folded into the day. I quit at 5 p.m. to make dinner, watch some favorite political shows and go back to work at 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., when I close up shop.

Q: What authors have influenced you as a writer?

FOR WHOM THE BELLS TOLL by Ernest Hemingway

Q: Which Game of Thrones character exemplifies your hero?

I guess everyone's is gonna explode when I tell you I don't have TIME to watch much TV. And if I do, it's usually PBS, such as Downton Abbey and Victoria.

Q: If there were something your heroine could do over, what would it be?

To trust the woman Army general who saw what shape Kira Duval was in and sent her to the Bar C ranch in Wind River Wyoming to apply for a job. Kira thought the owner would not want her, just as 20 other businesses she went to apply for a job, turned her down, too. Fortunately, this time, she was hired and it changed her life for the better.

Q: What's up next for you?

An early Christmas anthology: Christmas with my Cowboy that features Diana Palmer, Lindsay McKenna and Margaret Way on 9.26.17.

Then, on 11.1.2017

Wrangler's Challenge, Book 4 of the Wind River Valley series comes out with Dair Wilson and Noah Mabry from the Bar C ranch.

About the Author

Lindsay McKenna is a pseudonym of multiple-award winning writer Eileen Nauman. She writes military romances and romantic suspense.

She has had 100 books published under the McKenna name since 1981, most dealing with military or mercenary subjects, for several publishers: Simon and Schuester, Warner, Avon and Berkley, Harlequin/Silhouette. Another 9 books have been published by the writer Eileen Nauman, under Nauman's name or other pseudonyms, for a total of 109 fiction books.

She served in the U.S. Navy, 1964-1967, and was an AG3, Aerographer's Mate Third Class (meteorologist).

She comes from a U.S. Navy family tradition, and, as a result, has strong, positive patriotic feelings for the United States. Her father served during World War II on the destroyer, Fletcher, in the Pacific Theater of War.

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March 18, 2018 04:42 AM ( EST )